Photoshoot Road Trip: The FnA Roadster
The Photoshoot Road Trip: Part 1
Ever since I can remember, the Dallas/Ft. Worth area has been a point of contention for me. Growing up, my mom would drive me there in the fall for nightmarish “back-to-school” shopping trips. And then whenever my old man would have seminars or industry meets, they would inevitably be in Dallas and I’d have to tag along with the monotony. And then there was colllege… Once a year, I’d head south down I-35 with bursting hope and optimism only to have them both squashed when Texas beat my Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl.
Thankfully, that last one has been righted more often than not since I graduated, but still… Man, I loathe that beacon of concrete flanking my least favorite highway in the world.
As I’ve grown older, things haven’t changed much. I bet I’ve set up no less than ten photoshoots in the area in the past few years only to come up empty handed due to drop outs or weather or schedule or… whatever…
And so when I set up a photoshoot with Brady Adams, the latest owner of the FnA Roadster, I did it with low expectations. I was sure this first stop on my “Photoshoot Road Trip” would be interrupted by something or the other eventually. So confident, that I didn’t even make my reservations at Ray Roberts State Park until the Wednesday morning of my departure figuring I’d just keep on trucking to Tulsa as soon as the shoot fell through.
I left Austin early enough that I was able to dodge Dallas traffic and pulled into the park mid afternoon only to be greeted by a waterfront spot at one of the prettiest State Parks I’ve ever seen. Shortly after arriving, I got a text from Brady and he was ready to go. “What in the hell is going on here?” I thought. “He was supposed to cancel.”
Brady and I decided to meet for dinner first, so I unhitched and headed to a little diner on the square in Celina, TX. Shortly after arriving, Brady showed up with an old friend of mine from high school as well as an honest-to-goodness photographer. We shot the shit, drank some beer, and then headed for a location that Mike Mossi (previously mentioned photographer) had scoped out before hand. Somehow, someway, the Dallas area was coming through for me… Finally.
You’ve probably seen the FnA roadster before. It was built by Tim Elmer at The Salt City Speed Shop and like most cars that Tim builds, it has a very distinctive look. You might remember his anti-sectioned model-a coupe or his clean little t-roadster or… It seems as though Tim has a good eye for building cars that are unforgettable without being over the top. He has an eye for both detail and subtleties that can be quite striking.
This car, for example, is made with what’s taken away rather than what’s added to it. In fact, Tim started with a completely restored model-a roadster from Burt’s Model-A in Denver, CO. Essentially, he took a Ford roadster off the lot and made a hot rod out of it by stripping it and adding a big motor. That’s it. There’s nothing else to it and that’s the beauty of it.
A kid coming back from WWII wouldn’t have a ton of resources to go nuts on a roadster. His biggest hurdle would be that big ole 286-inch flathead. It’s got an Isky cam, dual 97s, Edelbrock heads, and some some great Elmer fabricated air cleaners. It’s backed by a venerable top-loader.
And once the motor and tranny were sourced and dropped between the stock model-a frame rails, our hero probably wouldn’t have much patience or budget left to get crazy on anything else. The biggest remaining project would be the stance and that’s done easily enough by reversing the spring eyes and adding a set of 750 rears and 450 fronts to some 16″ wire wheels.
After a couple of weekends fiddling with that stuff, all he’d have left to do is strip the car of everything and anything that doesn’t lend itself towards speed. The fenders are to the scrap yard obviously, but who has time to lift the body and ditch the running boards when there are skirts to be dropped and windshield irons to be chopped? Priorities, right?
The end game here is a black model-a roadster that doesn’t look and feel like every other black model-a roadster out there. And Tim was able to pull that off with subtraction rather than addition. I totally dig that…
And so did Brady Adams. He had been building a model-a coupe for himself when his career started and everything had to be put on the back burner. After moving all of the world, he finally settled in Dallas and decided it was time to get back in the hot rod game. The FnA roadster presented itself and Brady took the call. He’s owned it since January and has been driving the shit out of it ever since. If you are in the D/FW area, keep an eye out – you’ll be glad ya did…
And speaking of D/FW, thanks for the hospitality y’all. Maybe I’ve been holding a grudge for far too long. I mean, Oklahoma kicks the hell out of Texas every year now and well, now that I’ve got a shoot in the area under my belt I can let go of some of that resentment – weather permitting of course.
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Brady for taking the time to let me shoot his car, Mike Mossi for the location scouting, and Chris Anderson for being a pal for 25 years… You might notice a little model-a coupe lurking in a few of these photos. That’s owned by Mr. Mossi and was actually the first build of Brandon McCullough. We will be featuring Brandon’s ’32 roadster next week in Part 2 from our Photoshoot Road Trip. See y’all then…